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A Five-Star Restaurant in Montreal That Welcomes Everyone

October 26, 2021
A Five-Star Restaurant in Montreal That Welcomes Everyone

Fusion Latino, in Montreal’s Hochelaga district, has a rare 4.8 stars on Google Reviews. On Facebook, a perfect 5/5. The hybrid resto-cafe-lounge offers a range of Latin American fare, including their famous tacos and margaritas. A recent review reads: 

Everything had incredible flavour and was prepared to perfection. We were so impressed with the service and care that went into the whole experience. We highly recommend this establishment to anyone in the Montreal/Hochelaga Maisonneuve area.

That pretty much sums up what Fusion Latino is all about: great food, with excellent service, all presented in a welcoming atmosphere. 

The neighbourhood staple opened six years ago, a partnership between a chef and a behind-the-scenes business manager (who can be found waiting tables when the restaurant is open—as he reminds us, flexibility is key in the restaurant industry). While running a restaurant is always a challenge, made even more difficult during COVID, Fusion Latino never falters in its quality—deserving every five-star rating it receives.  

“For me, business is for everyone. Everybody is your clientele and you need to adapt yourself for that. You need to be smart enough and fast enough to adapt.”

Thinking Capital chatted with the brains behind Fusion Latino, a silent partner whose preference for remaining behind the scenes means he’d rather not get name recognition for all his successes. His number one advice: you never know who your customer will be, so appeal to everyone.

“You cannot segmentize a business. I don’t believe in business plans, for me they don't exist. When we started, my business partner made a business plan that segmented the clientele. I learned after this experience that the clientele that you want and you focus on, it will never be the one that you’ll have. For me, business is for everyone. Everybody is your clientele and you need to adapt yourself for that. You need to be smart enough and fast enough to adapt.” 

Fusion Latino’s key to appealing to everyone is creating a product of excellent quality and an atmosphere that embraces whoever walks through the door. A taco at Fusion Latino rings in at $10—an admittedly expensive item. But the price isn’t too restrictive for people who are curious, outside of the “target” audience, to still try and enjoy it. The quality product is what keeps customers returning. 

“You need to believe in your product and yourself. If you want to sell a $20 taco you need to stand behind that and be self assured in your decisions. It’s not arrogance, it’s confidence. You never need to justify yourself.” 

Having a product you can stand behind comes down to three things: quality, quality, quality. Not cutting corners at the foundation—the food—allows the business to be spontaneous and flexible in other parts, welcoming in a variety of customers and taking on challenges head-on. It’s hard work, but also fun. The sense of community, due to the business’ ethos of accepting everyone, is what they credit for keeping them in business. For Fusion Latino, it’s about not judging anyone and instead keeping a friendly and inclusive environment. Come for the tacos, stay for the people. 

“You need to believe in your product and yourself. If you want to sell a $20 taco you need to stand behind that and be self assured in your decisions. It’s not arrogance, it’s confidence. You never need to justify yourself.”

“If you check our restaurant we have a 4.8 rating. The customers have a sense of partnership with the restaurant, they like the experience.  People now want an experience. So you have to be an entertainer and provide a quality product.” 

Four years ago, in search of a loan that would help them grow their business, Fusion Latino reached out to Thinking Capital. A lot has happened in that time, including the pandemic which has been especially hard on the restaurant industry. As restrictions ease up, restaurants continue to struggle to find a willing workforce, meaning many business owners have taken on many extra roles. An owner might have to be a cook, server, host, and busser, all rolled into one. 

“Thinking Capital has been excellent, they’ve always been proactive. During the pandemic, we really felt like we had someone there for us. We grew the business with the loan that we received. We put in a bar section. We have to thank Thinking Capital for their support.”

“In a restaurant, we always need cash flow. So we want to keep working with Thinking Capital. The percentage is the best and it doesn’t feel heavy because it’s a daily payment.” 

A sense of security during the ups and downs of running a business is paramount. While support often comes in the form of loans and monetary investments, it’s often as simple as cultivating that sense of community—in knowing you have someone on your side. Fusion Latino credits Thinking Capital as the reason they often had extra influx of money during the pandemic, easing stressors. Fusion Latino is already brainstorming what their next expansion will be. They’ve been contacted about participating in a pop-up event, meaning even more customers will get to try their food.

“Thinking Capital has been excellent, they’ve always been proactive. During the pandemic, we really felt like we had someone there for us. We grew the business with the loan that we received. We put in a bar section. We have to thank Thinking Capital for their support.” 


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